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1399Re: [The Indigo Network] improving schools

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  • lbb116
    Jan 7, 2007
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      Unfortunately, Waldorf was not the best fit for my child. She is
      quite creative and artistic and needs that outlet. She takes ballet
      (since the age of 3), has started with a local theater group and takes
      art lessons from a local artist. She is thriving at Huntington and
      catching up in both reading comprehension and in math. Home
      schooling seems to be going well too, although we've only finished her
      first week. We're tackling spelling and cursive, science and social
      studies. We've started with ancient Greece and began with mythology.
      Monday we'll take a trip to the science museum and study simple machines.

      It broke my heart to learn that she was struggling in math at Waldorf.
      She loved the school and enjoyed handwork and eurythemy. However,
      she's a visual learner and that's not how they teach at Waldorf, at
      least math anyway. She was totally lost during "mental math"
      exercises. She needs to see the numbers or at least have "counters".
      When she was pulled out of Waldorf, she totally hated math. Now,
      she's becoming excited about it again.

      It was disturbing and gut-wrenching to see my bright, intelligent and
      gifted child backslide. Either the program was not challenging enough
      or the teacher was simply not doing her job. The frustrating part of
      it all was whenever the parents made suggestions on improving the
      classroom, we were told it's not according to steiner. The parents
      just don't seem to have any clout or say unless they're on the board.

      Public schools are pushing too much too soon and it seems that Waldorf
      schools are at the opposite end of the spectrum. It was not a good
      fit for us, my child needed more structure and challenging curriculum.

      We were desperate last year to find a school for my daughter to help
      her recover and learn to enjoy school again. We took a leap of faith
      that Waldorf was the right school. Our choices were limited to
      Waldorf, public or religious-based. It was a very rough year. She
      healed emotionally, but she lost what she'd learned in 1st grade. I
      really don't know if it would have been different if the teacher
      actually had a teaching background. I've talked to other former
      waldorf parents (from other schools) and my feeling is it probably
      wouldn't be much different.

      My daughter pretty much learned to count to 20 before preschool, knew
      her alphabet and was learning to recognize words. She learned to read
      in kindergarten. She has an insatiable thirst for knowledge. When
      she takes a particular interest in a subject, she soaks it up like a
      sponge. When she was four, she took an interest in butterflies. She
      can now identify all the local butterflies by sight. She can also
      talk about probably 10 or 15 more. It's the same with rocks. She
      can identify all the variety of quartz as well as several other minerals.

      > I would check my assumptions about education and do some research
      > about child development and education.

      My point exactly... Waldorf is touted to being the perfect alternative
      for the indigo child. What I have learned is that may not be the case
      for all indigos. One size doesn't fit all and neither does Waldorf.
      It is troubling that a school can open its doors with untrained
      teachers. It is troubling that a school doesn't have to answer to
      basic standards. I realize it is a private school, but it should at
      least have to fulfill some basic state licensing requirements and
      certifications. How many parents are savvy enough to ask all the
      right questions and do a complete assessment of a non-accredited
      alternative school?

      I am not totally bashing Waldorf. I'm simply trying to bring to light
      some things about the schools -- hiring untrained, non-credentialed
      teachers.



      Lorie

      --- In indigo-schools@yahoogroups.com, Lily <artemis@...> wrote:
      >
      > Lorie,
      >
      > I'd like to respond to your e-mail point-by-point as you bring up
      some valid
      > concerns.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Quoting lbb116 <lorie_b@...>:
      >
      > > Yeah, that's what I was told too. My daughter is very, very bright.
      > > On paper, the curriculum, her 3rd grade was teaching appropriate math
      > > (advanced addition, subtraction and beginning multiplication and
      > > division).
      >
      > Being a Waldorf Class teacher is a very difficult job. It sounds
      like your
      > daughter's teacher was inexperienced. The Waldorf curriculum calls for
      > teaching the four major operationg (addition, subtraction,
      multiplication,
      > division) from the beinging. In first grade the children use
      counting stones
      > (or something similar) and concretely follow along stories that have
      them
      > adding, subtracting, multipling and dividing with the help of gnomes or
      > somewhat. Each year the exercises become more and more complex as
      well as more
      > abstract. In year three the children are still very concrete in
      their thinking
      > and need physical aides to assist. Not all children but most, all are
      > different. They learn math first as a language. In year three the
      "math"
      > senstences can be of many steps.
      >
      >
      > However, she struggled because she wasn't getting enough
      > > of the subject on a weekly basis or the teacher simply wasn't able to
      > > teach. Her teacher is not certified, she doesn't even have a degree
      > > in early education.
      >
      > It is true that Waldorf schools don't require any specific
      credential. However,
      > most schools in the US do want to see a BA and Waldorf Training or
      equaliante
      > experience. The fact is experienced Waldorf teachers are in short
      supply.
      > School's are openning all over and there are only so many teachers to go
      > around. And there are poor ones as well. Not all teacher's can do
      the job.
      >
      > I'd also like to note that 3rd grade is a very common time for
      parents to freak
      > out about - reading, homework, etc.
      >
      >
      > My concern, as are many who left Waldorf, is that
      > > when my daughter was ready to leave Waldorf, for high school, she
      > > would be so far behind that she would be set up for failure from the
      > > first day.
      >
      > The general rule of thumb seems to be that yes they are behind (what
      does that
      > mean anyway) until 3rd grade and then transfer find into public or
      main-stream
      > schooling. Now this is very individual. My daughter, for instance,
      could not
      > have managed in a public school until 9th grade as she didn't read
      until 7th.
      > Now she is applying to UC Berekley and other top colleges and will
      get in to
      > one of them even with her disablility. You see my daughter has
      severe dyslexia
      > but with the support of her teachers and classmates has learned to
      function in
      > the 2D realm while not loosing touch with her remarkable 3D vision
      and thought.
      > Writing is still hard for her, but she works at it really hard and
      keeps
      > getting better. Charlotte (my little one) did very poorly on the
      SAT and SAT
      > II because she doesn't test well. It doesn't reflect on her
      intelligence and
      > ability and a lot of colleges are beginning to see that standardized
      tests
      > don't tell them much about a student.
      >
      >
      >
      > College was a concern too. There are many who have left
      > > waldorf emotionally scarred due to the teachers anthroposophic
      > > beliefs, rightly or wrongly interpreted or inability to fit into
      > > mainstream society or schools.
      >
      > As for fitting into society or "the real world", waldorf students do
      better than
      > most young people. The do it with confidence, caring and grace. If
      you have a
      > Waldorf High School nearby, talk to some of the students - they will
      engage you
      > like few people can.
      >
      > In years that I struggled to make school payments, I'd talk to the high
      > schoolers. They weren't afraid of adults or distainful. They were
      poised and
      > self-possesed. I envy them their secure sense of self.
      > >
      > > All I am saying, go with eyes open. It is an alternative school. If
      > > your child is special needs, ie ADD or ADHD or very sensitive or
      > > emotionally fragile, then this nurturing environment is probably the
      > > right one.
      >
      >
      > However, if your child is indigo, bright and gifted and is
      > > miserable in public schools because of personality conflicts,
      >
      > Personality conflicts are part of life and children need to learn to
      deal with
      > them not run from them. Children in a Waldorf class learn to
      appreciate and
      > work with people they like and dislike. They can't hide from
      "difficult"
      > people . The teachers model and subtlely work with the children on
      social
      > skills. What they don't do is demand.
      >
      >
      > and you
      > > are not willing to do the extra required to keep his/her academics up
      > > to speed so when (s)he matriculates to another school, be aware, they
      > > will most probably be behind in more than the Waldorf school will
      > > admit. This information comes from Waldorf alumns and their parents,
      > > not just my personal experience.
      >
      >
      > Also, those famous people who've
      > > been at Waldorf, not all had a happy experience. David Gilmour, of
      > > Pink Floyd, put his kids in Waldorf, partly to his memory of his
      > > education in public schools. He pulled them out because he too was
      > > concerned. His 14 year old daughter struggled in a conventional
      > > school and had to be put back a grade and still struggled.
      >
      > Many people leave Waldorf for many different reasons and I can't
      comment on
      > David Gilmour's experience. My experience seems to be that it is
      often because
      > of parent's problems with the school/teacher/children and not the
      child's.
      >
      > I was told by two specialists when my daughter was diagnosed that
      she shouldn't
      > been in a Waldorf shcool. One therapist had her own children in the
      same
      > school. But we (my husband, daughter and I) decided it was more
      important that
      > she was happy and enjoyed learning then if she ever learned to read
      so she
      > stayed in Waldorf and slowly, very slowly, it came - when her brain
      was ready.
      >
      > >
      > > Waldorf doesn't require its teachers to be certified or to even have a
      > > teaching background or degree. Waldorf is not accredited by any other
      > > body than itself.
      >
      >
      > Some Waldorf schools are accredited and some not. I think only
      private high
      > schools are accredited. My daughter's school regularly gets the
      best and
      > longest accreditation from the Western Schools something or other.
      >
      >
      > They do not grade or test, so there is no way to
      > > determine if their graduates will be able to go on to another high
      > > school or to college, as they insist.
      >
      > This is true for the most part in the lower 8 grades. Instead of
      grades parents
      > get detailed narrative reports from all their child's teacher. Not
      only the
      > class teacher, but the speciality teachers. The children are taught
      by a team
      > of several teachers. In the middle grades some teachers have qiuzes
      and tests
      > for practice at taking tests and TO MAKE PARENTS HAPPY.
      >
      >
      > Each Waldorf is different in
      > > their competency and success, since some have actual certified trained
      > > teachers. My daughter did not and that teacher would follow her all
      > > the way up through 7th grade or beyond. They plan to add 7th grade
      > > next year and continue to add grades as long as there is interest. I
      > > doubt my daughter would be in an "honors" program when she got to high
      > > school with her current teacher. Also, most Waldorf schools struggle
      > > financially, the one we left certainly does. So it makes me wonder,
      > > where they would get the capital needed to fund an acceptable high
      > > school science lab?
      >
      > The Waldorf schools do struggle financially, especially young
      schools. It is a
      > problem that is being addressed at many levels in the community.
      >
      > >
      > > All I am saying is, please ask a lot of questions. Does the teacher
      > > have a degree in education? Is (s)he certified, and not just in
      > > Waldorf? Google Waldorf critics. A waldorf education is not cheap.
      > > As it stands, I paid $14,000 for my daughter to learn how to knit,
      > > play with bees wax and paint with real watercolors.
      >
      > Yes Waldorf is expensive, very for a middle class family. It's
      worth every
      > penny.
      >
      >
      > I consider the
      > > rest of her education a total waste, She already knew how to read and
      > > write. She did learn about some saints and legends -- their version
      > > of history. I may not even get a refund of the remainder of this
      > > year's tuition. That battle has yet to be fought.
      >
      >
      > Handwork is taught because it engages the senses and is a will
      activity. The
      > child learns they can think something and then make it real!!!!!!!!!
      Very
      > important. Children 7-14 still require a lot of physical motion to
      learn. In
      > Knitting teaches shape, number and coorination. It refines the
      sense of touch
      > and sight. Painting teachs color, shade and tone as well as fluid
      dynamics.
      > Singing trains the ear. Oh there is so much more to learn the the
      3Rs. Waldorf
      > students recite times-tables while they jump rope. Reaserch shows
      that learning
      > is quicker and easeier if it includes a motion component.
      >
      > I'm sorry you had a bad experience at a Waldorf school. I would
      check my
      > assumptions about education and do some research about child
      development and
      > education.
      >
      > Namaste,
      >
      > Lily
      >
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